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Suspected cholera cases in Yemen soar to 460,000: UN

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Yemeni toddler suspected of suffering from cholera receives medical care at a cholera treatment center in Yemen’s northwestern Hajjah Province, on June 1, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations says war-torn Yemen has seen a sharp rise in the number of suspected cholera cases, as more than 460,000 cases have been recorded so far this year, compared to 380,000 cases for all of 2018.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq further said on Monday that 705 apparent cholera deaths had been documented since January, a dramatic increase from the 75 deaths reported in the same period last year.

He blamed the speed at which the disease spread across the country on recent flash flooding, poor maintenance of waste management systems, and a lack of access to clean water for drinking or irrigation.

There are about 1,200 cholera treatment facilities across Yemen that are being operated by the UN and its partners, but Haq warned that “funding remains an urgent issue.”

Only 32 percent of the UN humanitarian appeal for the 4.2 billion dollars to help over 20 million Yemenis this year has been supplied.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection that spreads through contaminated food or water. It can be effectively treated with the immediate replacement of lost fluids and salts, but without treatment, it can be fatal.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies invaded Yemen in March 2015 with the aim of bringing a former regime to power.

The ongoing Saudi-led war has destroyed much of Yemen’s infrastructure, including critically in the health sector.

The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger, as a result of the war.

The cholera outbreak also started after the war was launched.

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